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Music to My Years: A Mixtape Memoir of Growing Up and Standing Up

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  278 ratings  ·  51 reviews
In this memoir full of humor and heart, comedian, writer, and producer Cristela Alonzo shares personal stories of growing up as a first-generation Mexican-American in Texas and following her dreams to pursue a career in comedy.

When Cristela Alonzo and her family lived as squatters in an abandoned diner, they only had two luxuries: a television and a radio, which became he
Published October 8th 2019 by Simon and Schuster Audio
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Average rating 4.42  · 
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Lesley Knight
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am often drawn to memoirs and biographies written by those sharing their first-generation experience, as I am first-generation Australian. Until I read her book, I had no knowledge of Cristela Alonzo. Although I may not share her taste in music, I enjoyed her book very much and I applaud her empathy, honesty and political engagement.
Amanda Espinoza
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
I literally LOL'd throughout Cristela's Netflix special, Lower Classy, a few years ago. It was filmed in my town! So when I saw that Cristela had come out with a book then I knew I had to read it. I'm also a sucker for memoirs by comedians.

What I didn't expect is to tear up so much throughout this book. Cristela shares her stories growing up poor on the Texas-Mexico border and her relationship with her family. I've been to some of the towns she talks about. I also appreciate how she shares abou
Perfect in every way. Had the flow of a sweet melody that will captivate all audiences. Music to my ears. And book taste. 5/5 stars
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
I got an autographed copy of Cristela Alonzo's memoir months ago during her recent stand-up tour. I held off on reading this book because I knew I would cry. I cried because it's rare to come across someone so relatable. I have been a fan since her TV show and had the privilege of meeting her when she toured after the show's cancellation. Like Cristela herself, her memoir is smart, funny, authentic, and inspiring. I am so proud of this woman who, like me, is the American child of an immigrant, a ...more
Aug 07, 2020 rated it liked it
I think if I were already familiar with Alonzo's work, I'd probably have really liked this memoir, but not having a frame of reference for her made me lose interest and not return to it after a while. ...more
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was such a great memoir written and read by Cristela Alonzo. She was so honest and revealing about her life growing up. I could not stop listening.
David Glenn Dixon
With a lot of showbiz types, they don't really want to write a book. Alonzo begins the book by saying as much. It's just the right move to make at the time. She has a cute, self-satisfied voice, busy without saying much of anything, certainly not anything distinctive or surprising. There are lots of jokes where she comes right out and says "Just kidding!" because she doesn't trust herself to make it clear from context and she doesn't trust the reader to know the difference. I wanted to see how s ...more
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want to say so much about this book but really, you should just read it. Every brown girl will see some of herself in this book and it touches the heart in so many ways. I loved it and I already want to read it again. It’s got some humor, in true Cristela style, but what it mostly has is heart and sincerity. If we are friends and you want to know more about my own life, I feel like this is a window into it.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
She's great. I especially appreciated this book because she encapsulated the cadence and rhythms of the Rio Grande Valley so well. Unless you lived there, you wouldn't necessarily enjoy this book quite as much as I did. ...more
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s like reading from her journal. Unpretentious. Honest. Relatable.
Crystal Bruce
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is phenomenal. So many latinas will find this relatable and it reads with so much honesty.
I watched Cristela's Netflix special a couple years ago and really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to learning about her life and getting more of her humor in book form. This book certainly delivered on the first part, though there was a bit less humor than I was hoping for. Although there were certainly jokes scattered throughout, the general tone of the book was mostly very earnest. Nothing wrong with that, per se, but for me it did drag a bit in places, especially in the middle chapters. ...more
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm sorry to say that I had never heard of Cristela Alonzo until I read a review of her memoir in one of the several book mailing lists I subscribe to. The review raved about the book and said the audiobook was even better, so I got a copy of that and was hooked right from the introduction when Cristela jokes that she'd decided to write a new Bible. She then goes on to say, "I'm kidding. I was raised very Catholic: I don't know anything about the Bible." As someone who was raised very Catholic m ...more
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found out about this book because I follow Cristela on social media, I don’t usually follow celebrities but somehow I ended up following her... anyway, I was having a reading rut and memoirs are a good way to get me out of them so I picked up her book.

I really appreciate that the writing style and content is very accessible, it seems like it was a conscious choice to write a book that even those who don’t consider themselves “readers “ would want to pick up and be able to finish. She had a rel
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Le sigh. I savored this book and read it ever so slowly because I didn’t want it to end. Then I waited forever before reviewing it. I loved everything about this memoir. Cristela did a spectacular job in telling her life story and making the reader connect with her life.Her story is not the only one. I honestly can’t recommend this book enough.
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Cristela. I learned about her from her show. Her experience and mine are completely different but she is such an amazing storyteller, performer, activist, and all around great person. Her story is beautiful. Even if we are so different to mine her mom reminds me of mine so much. Her family is so similar to mine in how they joke with each other and love each other. This is a great book.
Gary Bunker
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't read a lot of memoirs (or long-form non-fiction for that matter), but Cristela's book is just too awesome to avoid. While she's a bit younger than I, her connection to music as touchstones through life (and chapter titles) is very familiar.

And the final line echoes nicely this second week in November, 2020: "We, the people, got it from here."
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is fabulous! I first saw Cristela Alonzo at a Wits show in 2015. I immediately knew she was awesome when she talked about her love of Billy Joel. Such a clever way to organize a memoir, and such powerful stories.
Shelby Lehman
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny, heartfelt, sincere. Clever use of Mixed Tape with the storytelling. Some parts got a bit repetitive and some chapters had a lot of tangents, but all in all a good story and excellent audiobook.
I don't know what exactly I was expecting, but I didn't get it. I was left with a hollow feeling, and this really disappointed me because I love Cristela's stand-up, enjoyed her sit-com and her View appearances. ...more
I read a lot of celebrity memoirs, it's one of my favorite genres. Most are mediocre at best. The majority use ghostwriters, and often are a glossy overlay of their life.

Cristela's memoir is nothing like those. First, she actually wrote it herself (shocking!). Second, she doesn't ignore the hard stuff.

If you don't know, Cristela, Alonzo is a stand up comedian. She made history as being the first Latina to write and star in a TV show (called Cristela in 2014). She also became the first Latina lea
Nov 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
great biography of Cristela Alonzo growing up as a first generation Mexican-American in a small town in Texas. At the end of the book, she gives advise on how we can all make a difference, especially women of color.
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Somehow exceeded my already high expectations. Cristela is an excellent story teller of her experiences as part of an immigrant family, struggling actress and comedian, and philanthropist. She takes you through the music that defines certain parts of her life. You connect with her through the songs and stories. Its beautifully poetic and genuine.
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found some of the over explaining to be a bit annoying/distracting but otherwise it was an enjoyable read.
Funny & heartfelt.
It was fine.
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the few books I read where I could not put down.
Totally relatable to my upbringing. Paints such a colorful and vivid picture of her childhood, influences and overall journey.
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Cristela! I love watching her stand-up comedy and I enjoyed her show, Cristela. When I heard she had a book on NPR, I immediately bought it. I adored this book! I really enjoyed the concept of it: a memoir told through music. Each chapter was dedicated to a song, a music artist, or a theme song from a TV show or movie. It was interesting to read how Cristela connected each title of the song to specific parts of her life. Cristela was honest and unapologetic.

Though her upbringing was dif
Micaela R
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently watched the Netflix comedy special by the author. I loved her sense of humor and could relate to some of her stories as a Latina woman. I was very interested to read her story because it sounded like she had so many different life experiences.

This book was wonderful. She talks a lot about her childhood, her family, and how she came into the world of comedy. I loved all the stories and connection to songs. She grew up in extreme poverty, and really share so much of herself with the rea
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cristela... omg I can't begin to explain how much I enjoyed this book. That connected to it on a few different levels. This book made me cry in made me laugh it made me proud I thoroughly love reading listening along to audible I found myself wanting to come home or reading on my breaks or lunch and be less alone just so I could finish this book. I'm sad the book is over. I pray you write again. I love reading about your past and the love you have for your family. Wonderful wonderful book. thank ...more
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Cristela Alonzo is a comedian, actor, and producer. She was the first Latina to create, produce, and star in her own network sitcom, Cristela. She became the first Latina lead in a Disney Pixar film, Cars 3. Alonzo’s stand-up special, Lower Classy, can be streamed on Netflix. Cristela is an advisory board member for the nonprofit media and culture organization, Define American, and a board member ...more

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